The Power of Ayurvedic Massage Oil

Date Posted:4 September 2011 

Abhyanga massage is Ayurvedic full-body self-massage, which is recommended as a daily treatment to support both the mind and the body. In addition, there are other therapeutic massages, some of which utilize Ayurvedic massage oil, that help address a wide range of health issues.

Warm Scalp Oil Massage

To invigorate the scalp, revive the hair, improve mental clarity and balance the emotions, Maharishi Ayurveda recommends a warm scalp oil massage. Traditionally, the herb used in this oil treatment is Brahmi, which is known as a "Medhya" herb (meaning it helps to focus and soothe the mind, improve sleep quality and memory, and reduce the effects of stress). Other herbs include Amla (Indian Gooseberry), Bhringaraj (Eclipta Alba), Tulasi (Holy Basil), Ashwagandha (Winter Cherry), Sandalwood and Hibiscus. This powerful combination of herbs is added to a base oil of either sesame, which has great antioxidant properties, or coconut, which is considered nourishing for the hair.

The first step is to warm a couple of teaspoons of the oil (how much you need will depend on how long your hair is; all hair plus the scalp should be completely covered). When the oil is warm — not hot — rub it all over the scalp, from the back of your neck to your hairline. Massage the oil into your scalp with your fingertips, taking a few minutes to relax and enjoy the process. If you can leave the oil on overnight, pop a shower cap on to protect your bedding and shampoo it off the following morning. Otherwise, leave it on for up to 3 hours before shampooing and rinsing well. Repeating this twice per week will do wonders for your scalp and hair.

Sleep-promoting Massage

If one or more of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) are out of balance, it can have a detrimental effect on sleep patterns. Massage can help to achieve a better quality of undisturbed sleep by improving circulation and relaxing the mind and body. Our Maharishi Ayurveda Vata Massage Oil is ideal for this type of massage.

Apply the oil to your extremities: lower arms, hands, lower legs and feet. Do this just before going to bed, massaging these areas gently. Don't forget the soles of the feet and around the finger and toenails. Blot excess oil with a soft, clean cloth.

Dry Garshana Massage

An alternative to an oil massage is a dry massage. In Ayurvedic medicine, the Garshana massage is thought to disperse fat deposits in the body by improving circulation. It also helps to purify and smooth the skin, which improves the efficacy of herbal treatments and oils.

Put on raw silk gloves and massage your entire body with quick, gentle movements. Repeat this on a daily basis for best results.

A Cooling Massage

Not all massages need to be warming to benefit the mind and body. When the temperature rises and you start feeling hot and bothered, an effective way of cooling down the body is to combine massage with particular scents. Aromatherapy works by cooling the brain and the bloodstream. Scientific research has shown that different smells stimulate specific parts of the brain, which is why scent is so powerful. It triggers memories, affects emotions and sparks hormonal responses. This is because the olfactory nerve delivers scents to the area of the brain which governs emotions.

As well as exercising a powerful effect on the brain, scents are inhaled through the lungs, enter the bloodstream and go on to affect the circulation and the heart.

Some scents have a cooling effect, such as rose. The correct combination of cooling aromas can create an essential oil that will benefit your health and well-being, without any undesirable side effects.

Massage is a highly effective way to receive the benefits of aromatherapy. As well as being inhaled, the oil is absorbed by the skin. The effect of a cooling massage oil is that heat is gradually released from the body as the channels are cleared.

A base oil is required as the foundation of the cooling massage oil. Coconut has the most cooling properties, and is particularly suitable for those with Pitta constitutions. For someone with more Kapha or Vata, however, a better choice is our Pitta Ayurvedic Massage Oil, which is carefully formulated to cool the body, but not too much.

In Ayurveda, shukshma is a sharpness; in the case of aroma oils, this translates to the ability to penetrate even the smallest molecules of the body. When these scents are mixed with the cooling coconut oil, the oil's bioavailability is increased. This takes the oil's intelligence further into the tissues of the body and facilitates a deeper cleansing and rejuvenation of the cells. Overall, this greatly improves the effects of the massage. Incorporate Ayurvedic massage oil into your daily or weekly routine and you will soon be reaping the benefits.